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You Can Use Your Hand as a Graduated ND Filter for Landscape Photos


Here’s a simple trick for landscape photos: when shooting a landscape photo that needs a hard edge graduated ND filter, you can use your hand. Yes your hand! It’s a technique I’ve been using in my own work recently.

I haven’t purchased a graduated ND filter because I’ve relied on Lightroom and Photoshop to even out the exposure of skies when I need too. But I am liking the result I’m getting by using my hand. Here is an example of a situation in which I would use this technique:


You can see that the sky is totally blown out — it’s way too bright, compared to the log. Although the water looks very bright as well it is still less bright than the sky. A hard edge graduated ND filter here would be perfect to place along the edge of the water/treeline since its a hard edge already.

But I don’t have one. So I used my hand: